The Saguaro cactus is what most people think of when they try and picture the desert. They grow to be 16 feet high or so and some are a couple hundred years old. But as adaptable as they are as adults, the first few years can be quite a struggle for them. Seeds are often spread by javelinas which also provide the fertilizer. Next the tiny plant must be shaded by a nurse plan. Then the Gila Woodpecker provides assistance by eating decaying flesh allowing the cactus to heal and providing a nest for the woodpecker and later for bats, insects, owls, raptors, rodents and other woodpeckers. These nests in the cactus can be 30 degrees cooler than outside.
Unfortunately, javelinas are stopped by the wall. Check it out on internet. There are lots of pictures of them pacing in front of a section of the wall trying to get through. So the Saguaro is indirectly affected by the wall but also by poachers who sell the tiny plants and changes in the environment caused by farming, grazing or other types of development. Many times several years go by without a new plant surviving. Without new plants many other species will not survive the conditions of the desert. Javelinas, cactus and the Gila Woodpecker are intertwined. But without the javelinas and cacti other animals such as the jaguar, mountain and wolf would also perish. Why aren’t we being told this story in our news about the building of the wall? Again thanks to Krista Schlyer and her book Continental Divide.